It begins like a fairytale...
is an Australian play by Matt Cameron written in 2003. The story revolves around Sylvie and Ray Moon, a couple from the fictional town of Flaming Tree Grove, who are struggling to come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of their young daughter, Ruby, who left to visit her Grandma and never came back. The case has long gone cold, and they're almost ready to give up hope, until the arm of Ruby's doll turns up in their letter box. Desperate for answers, they go up and down the street and interview their neighbors about the incident. They encounter many eccentric characters, including a bible-thumping old woman, an ex-soldier who still lives with his mother, Ruby's creepy babysitter and even a mad scientist. Any one of them could be responsible. Through the play the couple are haunted by the presence of 'The Wizard'- a former runaway who returned home to find his parents had moved away. He is never seen, but will often knock on the Moons' door.The ending is one hell
of a Mind Screw
The play has recently become an HSC text at many Australian high schools. It combines elements of absurdism, gothic horror, and fairy tales with the paranoia of post-9/11 suburbia as well as drawing inspiration from real-life headlines about missing children.
You can see the trailer for the Newtown Theatre's production of it hereHas nothing to do with
the magical guardian
from Cardcaptor Sakura
This play provides examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: Professor Ogle, Flaming Tree Grove's resident mad inventor.
- Acting for Two: The play is written for two actors, who play not only Ray and Sylvie, but all of the neighbors. This is important to the plot- at the end we find out that Ray and Sylvie are role-playing the interviews with each other as a way to try and make sense of Ruby's disappearance.
- Adult Fear: The basic premise is based around this.
- Bad Humor Truck: Sylvie and Ray suspect the icecream man for a period of time, and a creepy, dischordant version of Greensleeves (a song often played by icecream vans) is played as the audience enters the theatre.
- Creepy Doll: This play has two-Ruby Doll, a doll that looks exactly like Ruby (the one that gets dismembered and sent back to the Moons piece by piece) and a life-sized version of Ruby Doll which Sylvie puts out on the nature strip and occasionaly pretends is the real Ruby.
- The Faceless: The Wizard/ The Gallows' Boy always wears a mask and is said to be horribly disfigured underneath it.
- Fractured Fairy Tale
- Glamorous Wartime Singer: Failed singer Veronica evokes some aspects of this trope despite not actually being one.
- Hearing Voices: Sylvie often imagines the sound of the phone ringing.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: 'The Curtain Girl', a rather creepy original song that Ruby supposedly made up, appears prevalently and occasionally serves as a kind of Leitmotif for The Wizard. The lyrics go something like "She's not in the room, she's not outside, hide from the world, the curtain girl, behind the curtain girl."
- MacGuffin: Lots.
- Man Child: Sid, the Moons' childish, mostly harmless neighbor who dresses up as a clown.
- Mind Screw: And how.
- Ms. Fanservice: Veronica
- My Beloved Smother: Sonny Jim's mother. Even though it turns out she's actually dead.
- The Ophelia: Sylvie, who has become depressed and delusional after Ruby's disappearance.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: A music box appears in part of the play that used to belong to Ruby.
- The Reveal: Ray and Sylvie are either role-playing the interviews, or they made up the non-existent neighbours. Sylvie's definitely insane, and it looks like Ray's headed in that direction too. For all we know, Ruby may have never existed. The neighbours could be figments of Ray and Sylvie's imaginations too- or they could be real. As to where Ruby is, God only knows.
- Stepford Suburbia
- Twist Ending
- Wham Line: "Dulcie Doily is nothing more than the sum total of every pious, judgmental thought you've ever had!"
- And then there's "But what about the Gallows boy? We made him up."
'...but how does it end?''